Prospective Online Students

Internet Safety for Online Learning

How can you stay safe on the Internet? Follow these guidelines to protect yourself online:

1. Do not give out personal information

Personal information includes your name, educational institute, telephone number, address, photos, credit card numbers, or information about yourself. Also, do not give out information about your friends or family. You do not have to fill out forms or answer questions on the Internet. Online contests may be used to trick you into revealing personal information, so be cautious. Be careful about what you say in chat rooms. You do not know who is online with you.

2. Never arrange to meet in person with people you have met online

Don't arrange telephone calls, either. If you're a teenager, let your parents know if someone you've met online wants to arrange a meeting. Some people on the Internet pretend to be someone else. Do not accept gifts from strangers online. For more information about online predators, visit these websites:

  • ProtectKids.com - describes how to be careful while using the Internet. This site includes developing relationships online, criminal behavior, and child exploitation.
  • NetSmartz.org - offers a variety of tools and games to keep kids and teens safer on the Internet. This service is for kids, their parents, along with the educators.

3. Beware of online bullying

Bullying could happen in an online environment too. If you are being bullied online by other students or are receiving abusive messages, tell someone in authority.

4. Do not post anything that could hurt others or have a negative effect

What you post on the Internet may be seen by friends, strangers, teachers, and, later, even colleges and possible employers. Once you post something online, it's tough to remove it from public view. Posting to newsgroups may make your e-mail address public. The online virtual education system you choose may have a safe place like a protected online discussion board. Here you can post appropriate information.

5. Protect passwords. Do not to give them to friends (not even your best friend)

Being savvy on the Internet is part of being an online learner. Allowing other people access and use your passwords may put your work in high risk and danger.

6. Develop good Internet practices when using the Internet

Be careful about opening ads or e-mail from unknown addresses. These can carry viruses, steal personal information, or sign you up for unwanted e-mail and announcements. Also be careful about downloading files or installing software.

7. Be honest and ethical about work that is submitted for class

It would be best if you did not plagiarize or claim someone else's work as your own. It is against the law to distribute writing, music, art, or other tasks that were created and copyrighted by someone else. Teachers are good at detecting borrowed phrases, and they may use special software to detect plagiarism. Follow the recommended policy for citing works.

8. Balance computer time with other activities

Balance in life is essential. Take regular breaks from work and using the computer. When investigating any online program, ask how much time you will need to be on the computer each week. Many programs offer activities both on and off the computer. Even if you enjoy computer work, it is essential to balance computer time with other activities.

9. Evaluate information on the Internet

Do not believe everything you find or receive on the Internet. Learn to tell the difference between reliable and unreliable information. Take the time to investigate this issue with your online education management.


*The information above was adapted from the North American Council for Online Learning and Minnesota Department of Education.

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